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The Continuing Pursuit of Equality: The Cases of Minoru Yasui, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Fred Korematsu and What They Mean Today

  • 7 May 2024
  • 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
  • Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, Ceremonial Courtroom, 219 S. Dearborn, Chicago


Registration is closed

Please join the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago for this program on Tuesday, May 7th at the Ceremonial Courtroom of the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse. The program will begin at 4:30 pm. A networking reception will follow at 5:45 pm.

Program Description

The Continuing Pursuit of Equality: The Cases of Minoru Yasui, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Fred Korematsu and What They Mean Today

This program will focus on the legacy of the World War II Japanese American incarceration and the infamous Supreme Court cases rejecting Minoru Yasui’s, Gordon Hirabayashi’s, and Fred Korematsu’s challenges to the orders that led to that incarceration. Forty years later, Messrs. Yasui, Hirabayashi, and Korematsu successfully reopened their cases and gained vacation of their convictions on proof that the government lied to the Court.

This program will also explore the legacy of these cases through the lens of Chicago history. It will highlight the experiences of Japanese Americans in Chicago, the largest resettlement city with 20,000 formerly incarcerated Nikkei moving here by 1946. Forty years after their incarceration, Japanese Americans in Chicago played a pivotal role in winning redress by providing testimony to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and advocating for the Civil Liberties Act.

The program will conclude with a discussion of the meaning of the incarceration experience today: from the post 9-11 treatment of communities of color, the Muslim travel ban, contemporary redress movements, and potential threats to reinstituting detention camps.

Speaker Biographies

Peggy Nagae is a third generation Japanese American (Sansei) who grew up on a farm in Boring, Oregon. Her family’s incarceration during World War II and her “coming of age” in the 1960s have informed much of her work.

Nagae’s public and community service includes: lead attorney for Minoru Yasui in reopening his WWII Supreme Court case; third President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; member of the Japanese American Citizen’s League National Redress Committee, which developed legislation for Congressional reparations; a President Clinton appointee to the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Board, where $3.5 million dollars in grants were awarded so that the injustices borne by Japanese Americans would not be repeated.

As the co-founder of the Minoru Yasui Legacy Project with Holly Yasui, Peggy spearheaded Mr. Yasui’s successful nomination for a Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he was awarded posthumously by President Obama in 2015. In 2016, she worked with the Japanese American community and the ACLU of Oregon to pass legislation creating a permanent Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon.  In 2017 the American Bar Association recognized her with the Spirit of Excellence Award. Today, she continues to work for justice and a multicultural, inclusive democracy.

Lisa Doi (she/her) is the President of the Japanese American Citizens League Chicago. She is also a project manager of the new core exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum and a co-chair of Tsuru for Solidarity, where she has worked on campaigns focused on reparations. In addition, she is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Indiana University. Her dissertation project is an ethnographic engagement with Japanese American pilgrimages to World War II incarceration sites. 

Asian American Bar Association of

Greater Chicago

321 S Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604

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